A year after the election…

It was one year ago today that Barack Obama won the election for the office of the President of the United States.  When he took office in January of this year, President Obama held a nearly 70% approval rating according to the Gallup poll.  As we can observe from the chart below, that approval has drastically shifted:


Presidential Approval Poll (Gallup)

So why the shift?  Esquire writer John Richardson explains what he considers to be the “Problem With America Today.”

My inspiration was the recent one-year-later cover of Newsweek, which encapsulates the current conventional wisdom about President Obama in a single headline: YES HE CAN (BUT HE SURE HASN’T YET). Or, as Saturday Night Live put it, President Obama’s two biggest accomplishments thus far are “Jack and Squat.” You can find other versions of this perspective from Matt Lauer and David Gregory on NBC, from thousands of obnoxious bloggers, even from the hapless governor of New York.

Here’s the conventional wisdom in a single paragraph: Three hundred and sixty-four days after he was elected president, Obama is still stuck in Iraq, hasn’t closed Guantánamo, is getting deeper into Afghanistan, hasn’t accomplished health-care reform or slowed the rise in unemployment. His promises of bipartisanship are a punch line (see above). And there’s still no peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. What a failure! What a splash of cold water in the face of all our bold hopes!

He’s being facetious and he follows it up with declaring that the conventional wisdom is “insane.”  Why?  Check Richardson’s record on Obama’s first ten months in office for yourself here.

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About Elijah

My name is Elijah. My interests include life in active community, writing, performing and partaking of music, collecting vinyl records, hiking/outdoors, urban exploration, Celtic FC and the Detroit Tigers.

6 responses to “A year after the election…”

  1. maplesyrup10 says :


  2. Mark says :

    Pardon me if I have some skepticism about Richardson’s list of Obama’s accomplishments. I nearly stopped reading after only the third one:

    “A day later, Obama reversed George W. Bush’s funding cutoff to overseas family planning organizations — saving millions of lives with the stroke of a pen.”

    A very interesting idea…SAVING ‘millions’ of lives by funding abortions???? Add to that illogical statement with the quote from the very source he links to:

    “For eight years under Bush, the global gag rule undermined the ability of providers everywhere to care for women according to best medical practice, and contributed to the deaths and injuries of an untold number of women who sought unsafe abortions when their community-based clinics and hospitals couldn’t offer services, information or referrals,” said Pablo Rodriguez, board chairman of the Association of Reproductive Health Care Professionals.

    How does “untold lives”, an anecdotal statistic if I’ve ever heard of one, translate into millions? Perhaps I’m missing something, but I don’t think so. Half of the things Richardson listed as accomplishments are direct results of raising spending to “insane” levels… hardly something to brag about. I’m not saying Obama hasn’t done anything, nor that he won’t at all, but this article rings of a desperate attempt to make lemonade.

  3. Sgt. Grumbles says :

    You are pardoned Mark…

    Just like all those terrorist Uighurs that Obama cut loose from Gitmo.

    PALIN 2012!!! You’d see some serious ROGUE ACTION happening in those first 100 days!

  4. Elijah says :

    Your stance is exactly what Richardson is talking about – you’re surprisingly against liberal reform. Did you continue reading past the timeline?

    Noticing a pattern yet? The first half of Obama’s accomplishments above is mostly liberal stuff. The bottom half is all pretty dang conservative. Which brings us to The Problem With America Today: Blame it on the Internet, on partisan politics, on the economic crash, on the legacy of war or Fox News or Michael Moore, but our vital center is getting stiff — and it is starting to stink.

    Liberals are upset because Obama didn’t shut down Guantánamo or stop the wiretapping program or end all wars or support gay marriage and kill Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Conservatives are pissed off because they hate health-care reform, family planning, ending any war at all, organic gardening at the White House, and government in general.

    What’s worse, both sides are so angry and righteous that they can’t even begin to give credit where it is due. When was the last time you heard a conservative cheer about that $288 billion tax cut? Or credit Obama for the centrism it took to appoint McChrystal, Panetta, and Gates? And how many liberals choose to be understanding about the practical difficulties of shutting down Guantánamo, achieving equal rights for gays, or tapping Al Qaeda’s phones?

    And where, on either side, can you find a scrap of humility about the staggeringly complex challenge of Afghanistan and Pakistan? Or a scrap of gratitude at having escaped global financial doom?

    So the question, a year since we elected him, isn’t how much Obama has accomplished. The question is why we’ve turned so small and mean that we only see half of it — the half we happen to agree with.

    Also, Richardson is a very liberal guy, so I didn’t expect his assessment to be fair, but it’s still a side to deal with in the face of “OBAMA HASN’T DONE A THING.”

    WOOT! WOOT! PALIN 2012!!!

  5. Mark says :

    You may be right Elijah, but I wasn’t really focused on the whole article or being against liberal reform. As I said, as soon as I got to that initial statement I basically stopped reading so probably missed that last half.

    My comment was aimed at Richardson’s writing and way of thinking about abortion, not Obama particularly.

  6. Elijah says :

    Yeah, I disagree with a lot of Richardson’s politics from what I’ve read (see: The Last Abortion Doctor).

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